Stock Those Shelves in Reston

Fighting child hunger on the weekend.

"More than 175 students and families in the South Lakes High School (SLHS) Pyramid use the Food Pantry every single week," said Roberta Gosling, SLHS Pantry Co-Founder. That is because for some children, on weekends, when they are not able to receive free and reduced meals at school, a food gap exists. But that was before the South Lakes High School Parent Teacher Student Association answered the direct call for food support and opened a Food Pantry in the school.

On Feb. 2, Lisa Martin, Administrative Assistant and Lucretia Mattar, Senior Financial Analyst at the Greensboro Drive, Tysons Corner office of Granite Telecommunications, presented a donation check on behalf of the company for $4,500 to the South Lakes High School (SLHS) Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) Food Pantry. Present to receive the generous donation was SLHS Principal Kim Retzer, Paul D. Thomas, SLHS PTSA President and Roberta Gosling, SLHS Pantry Co-Founder. "It's a very nice check that will go a very long way," said Retzer. "I think it is an efficient way to support the community in terms of how far the money goes," said Thomas.

ACCORDING TO MARTIN, every Friday at Granite is Jeans Day when each Granite teammate donates $3 to a charitable organization in exchange for enjoying the comfort of a pair of jeans. Granite, in turn, matches each donation dollar for dollar. "All Granite Gives Back initiatives depend on the support of Granite teammates, but Jeans Day is driven by them. A teammate picks a worthy organization like SLHS (PTSA Food Pantry), and their coworkers dig into their own pockets to donate. We're encouraged that they do so with enthusiasm, bringing to life our core value of giving back, each and every week," said Martin. She added that when a Granite teammate donates $3 in exchange for enjoying the comfort of a pair of jeans, Granite, in turn, matches each donation dollar for dollar. Each week a different teammate at Granite Telecommunications chooses an organization to nominate to be the beneficiary of the Jeans Day Initiative, one of Granite Gives Back's longest-running programs.

The Pantry is available for students and families in the South Lakes High School Pyramid. It is open for student shopping after school on Thursdays until 5:30 p.m. and on Fridays, until 3:30 p.m.

FAMILIES can shop on Thursdays between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. "Order forms are available in English, Spanish and Arabic," said Gosling as she gave a tour of the Pantry. "It's very empowering for the kids because they can really shop for their families, and the idea is to prepare them for the weekend. We also have toiletries, which are very big because you cannot purchase them with SNAP dollars, and they are very expensive," Gosling said.

As for where the items come from, although a significant portion is donated, Gosling said that as of a few months ago, the Pantry could partner with the Capital Area Food Bank. "We can get food by the pound for very little money...We are then really able to supply the Pantry," she said. Anything they cannot use, "which is very little," they take over to the homeless shelter according to Gosling.

Martin chose the South Lakes High School Food Pantry because her children went to SLHS, so she was aware of the program. "I think it is important to support others in our local community and to bring awareness to the pantry and the need in the area," she said.

Log in to comment